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MANU FERNANDEZ/AP/Press Association Images Lionel Messi: human after all.
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Vamos: Levante rule, Barca shut out and Ronnie reigns supreme
Paul Ring returns with his weekly Spanish football round-up and tries to make sense of what’s going on in La Liga. It’s bonkers.


Levante went to Villarreal last night and sank the yellow submarine 3-0. The result sees them extend their lead over Barcelona to two points. They have edged one clear of Real Madrid at the top of the table.

This is a club who have only ever spent six seasons in Spain’s top flight and as recently as 2008, they were couldn’t pay their own players.

They have the oldest team in the league and the greatest defensive record. They are unbeaten in eight games after six successive victories.

You would call it a fairytale but it has more of an Inception ring to it; a dream within a dream within a dream.

A Juanlu double followed by a Kone strike did the damage last night to an admittedly feeble Villarreal. Hop on the bandwagon now before it’s too late.

Barcelona are positively boring in comparison.

They laid siege to a stubborn Sevilla goal on Saturday night only to be thwarted by an inspired Javi Varas. As the minutes ticked on, Barcelona grew more frustrated but you still felt a goal was coming.

Andres Iniesta tried one last run and was brought down for a stoppage time penalty. Fredi Kanoute, on as a sub for Sevilla made his most telling contribution by knocking the ball from the penalty spot before shoving Cesc Fabregas and getting sent off.

The Mali man later accused Fabregas of calling him a terrorist, a claim Fabregas strenuously denied on his twitter account. Whatever was said, the long wait didn’t help Lionel Messi who saw his penalty saved by the outstanding Varas. It finished 0-0 and the air popped out of the Camp Nou.

This was no tactical master class from Sevilla. They simply worked hard and relied on their goalkeeper.That said, their handling of Dani Alves was interesting. They let him have acres of space out wide but cut off any his trademark runs inside. A lot of what Barca did was right in front of them.

Cristiano Ronaldo recovered from a drought of epic proportions to score a hat-trick in Real Madrid romped past Malaga 4-0. Ronnie hadn’t scored in three full games. Not sure about the dance though.

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Malaga were very disappointing and were finished after a half an hour. Real swamped them in midfield and effortlessly counter attacked whenever a Malaga attack broke down.

The result sees Real climb a point above Barcelona and any day that happens is a good one in the capital with the season defining clasico still a long way off in December.

Ronaldo seems to be reacting to criticism about selfish play and Gonzalo Higuain continues to plunder goals at will. Add a reborn Kaka and a still-to-play Sahin and Real will take some stopping for second, behind Levante.

Elsewhere Valencia needed a last minute equaliser from Roberto Soldado to draw with Bilbao while Atletico needed a Radamel Falcao penalty to level at home to Mallorca.

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